Trader Joe's is legendary for taking the ideas of other food producers, improving on the product, then selling them at its stores under the Trader Joe's name. So on a rare trip to the store, I figured the above snack would improve on Cheetos, not only in the health arena, but also in the flavor--contain the cheesiness to an assertive tone instead of Cheetos' jet-engine screech, impart the jalapeño's verdant essence instead of the cloying mystery that is the Flamin' Hot ingredient.
Man, was I wrong.
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Trader Joe's Baked Jalapeño Cheese Crunchies were as bland as cardboard--this isn't me using a cliché, but the truth. Stale, lifeless, with not even a whisper of cheese, and jalapeño flavor that attacked the tastebuds with the coolness of mint instead of heat. I only had a handful before schlepping the above bag to my best pal, who'll eat anything--except these. I've haven't been so disappointed culinarily since Carl's dropped its small cheeseburgers, and this is a shocking lack of effort on the part of Trader Joe's. Betcha it's crying all the way to the bank on this, though. . . .
Here's to hoping it never dares to try to copy Tapatío-flavored Fritos. . . .